The fraught world of buying a game for an 11 year old

Somehow, in gaming’s fourth decade, we’re still endlessly confronted by the peculiar mainstream misconception that video games are meant for children. The peculiarity that this myth maintains is outright ludicrous at this point, because gaming itself is now mainstream. Sure, in the early ’90s you could forgive a confused aunt for not realising that cartoony console games like Mario and Sonic had broad appeal, and we’re the totality of the medium. Now? Now it’s a bit odd. Not least because it’s still not that simple to find a good new game for children.

My own son is soon to turn 3, so I’m not in the least bit bothered that gaming isn’t yet for him. He’s perfectly happy brmmming cars on the windowsill, and not interested in the obscurity of indirect controls. He’s often keen to sit on my lap if the game I’m reviewing is kid-friendly, and watch, usually after three minutes demanding I play Trials Fusion instead (“The bike game! I want the bike game!”). However, my nephew is just turning 11 this month, and wow is that a complicated age to be gaming.

His mum, my sister, is sensibly strict about what he plays. He’s not allowed to play 12+ or 16+ games unless Uncle John has verified that the rating is excessive (which is pretty rare for 16s – PEGI are pretty sensible about these things). Now, that doesn’t leave him with a paucity of games – for his birthday (don’t worry, he doesn’t have a subscription) I’ve got him Rayman Legends for the PS4 he got for Christmas, and that’s a 7. I’m also sending him over the latest Ratchet & Clank, and I picked up Burnout 3: Takedown and Spider-Man 2 for his PS2, to fill in some important gaps where he’d foolishly forgotten to be born yet. Of all those, bizarrely it’s only Spider-Man 2 that gets a 12, while the surely more concerning car-crash-athon of Burnout 3 is, extraordinarily, rated 3+. Good grief, my boy would never get in a car again if he saw it. But this is more because he’s on the cusp of teenage years, where the broader range of games are becoming interesting. Before now, it’s been so very difficult to find him anything without “Lego” in the title. (Although I did pick up the 3+ Rocket League for him for Christmas, which has proven an epic hit, even nudging the 7+ Minecraft into second place.)

And that’s before you factor in friends. Because of course he has the friends whose parents let them play anything. Everyone did, right? So he’s regularly playing the 16+ Destiny when he’s not at home. If he’s played GTA he’s not confessed it to me, but that’d be the house in which it would happen.

He’s a sensible kid, he doesn’t especially want to be bathed in gaming blood, but when your chum is playing… it’s hard not to want to. So I see my role as partly to provide him with gaming greats that make it not such a big deal. Hence the four heading there way down there this week.

I’ve gone back and forth on Horizon: Zero Dawn. I really, really want to lend him my copy, as it’s absolutely my favourite game this year, and I’ll be surprised if anything tops it. It’s landed as a 16, despite my coming away sure it should have been a 12. The given reasons are,

“Realistic looking violence – Realistic looking violence towards non human looking characters – Non realistic looking violence towards human characters – Violence causing minor injury only”

And violence is definitely what my sister wants to avoid, albeit somewhat futile in the face of friends. But it’s also a beautiful story, one of huge scope that I think he’d love (he’s so into the lore of things, knowing ridiculous amounts about Zelda and the like), and more than anything, have the best female lead in any game I’ve played. That on its own seems more important than some unrealistic violence toward human characters. But then again, I can’t remember what my brain was like at 11, and my nephew’s is far too precious to gamble on.

I’m sure many will read that and say, “Oh PSHAH, Walker! I played [insert gruesome 90s game] when I was 11 and it didn’t do me any harm!” Me too! But when it’s your sister’s kid, it all feels a lot more fraught. Not least when there’s the 9 year old niece thrown in.

Still though, I think I’ll score some good Uncle Points when he discovers Rayman Legends for the first time, and then I think an awful lot more of them when he discovers Burnout 3’s crashing game.

101 Comments

  1. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    My six-year-old nephew loves, loves, loves Viva Pinata and has burned through a number of discs for it and its sequel on Xbox. It has been challenging trying to find more games he likes; quite simply nothing compares to his devotion to Viva Pinata. I wish someone could convince Microsoft to revive the series as a more budget-oriented, family-marketed product. It never found the audience it deserved, but I think there’s a lot of appeal in the series if they can just find a good price point and marketing campaign.

    • hey_tc says:

      My little brother played Viva Pinata until our Xbox broke, hundreds of hours put in. He’s 23.

    • jecomans says:

      My 6yo nephew loves Viva Pinata, too. His mum, my sis-in-law, got him into it, and he mostly plays her.

  2. Kunstbanause says:

    Do your nephew a favour and get him Portal Knights. PEGI says its for 7 and up.

  3. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    And it’s very difficult to avoid violence, not only because so many games have it in some form but because children are borderline feral animals who delight in it and will seek it out. If a violence-free game is impossible (and there aren’t many) I would look for one that leans into contexts in which the violence is not sadistic and, ideally, couched in contexts that make it clear it is necessary. To use my nephew’s favorite game again, Viva Pinata has you whacking open pinatas because you are, essentially, a farmer, and the pinatas are part of an ecosystem with predators and prey. The pinatas reassemble outside your garden and it’s not glorified, it’s just kind of a “facts of life” approach that doesn’t encourage viciousness.

    • mavu says:

      I think the problem is not as much with violence itself.
      I mean, do you let your kids watch Tom&Jerry? Exactly.

      I think the problem with many modern games is the “graphic” depiction of it.

      Modern games (retro style excluded) have too much graphic fidelity, and too good sound design (and capabilities).

      Many violent games I played as a kid, had human-on-human violence in one form or other, but it was almost without fail comic in its execution. partly due to the technological limitations, but partly because most games I remember were not so serious (and didn’t take themselves so seriously) compared to todays games.

      • Heliocentric says:

        Do I let them watch Tom and Jerry, no, never. It’s got some massively backwards things in it, no ta.

        I let my 7 year old play Garden Warfare 2 mind, so that’s probably massive hypocrisy on the violence front.

    • Premium User Badge

      Nauallis says:

      I dunno, the way that the piñatas react to being beaten with a shovel is hilarious, but stepping back from that reaction a little bit, it is disturbing as well.

  4. Abattoir says:

    Hollow Knight. Great game for a young kid. My nephew is also 11 and loves it.

  5. Dave says:

    It is a tricky topic. My son (10) sees his friends playing CoD until ridiculous o’clock at night (he doesn’t even need to visit them, the PS4 dashboard tells you what your friends are playing) and gets jealous. I’ve allowed him Star Wars Battlefront, on the basis that all his friends also play, there are no cut-scenes (so no ‘language’) and its set in the Star Wars universe so he’s already seen all the films and is well aware its fiction and Dark vs. Light.

    Otherwise he still enjoys the Lego games and Minecraft, and recently spend a lot of time immersed in Terraria as well. I also allowed him to watch me play Horizon most of the way through – I don’t think it was the sort of game he would want to play, but he was fine with it. I understand its trickier when its someone else’s kid though

    • JimDiGritz says:

      My son is 11 and apart from a few titles like GTA I’m pretty relaxed with what he plays (though I do gift him all his games through Steam so I know what is in his Library)

      His main go to games are Rocket League, Minecraft, RoboCraft, Kerbal Space Program and Subnautica.

      My only concern is multiplayer – I’m 40 odd and I get shocked by some of the foul shit posting that goes on during multiplayer games, it’s even worse when Voice Chat is enabled by default – last time I played an AAA online FPS I found out that my mother is sleeping with almost every teenager, and that I’m suddenly homosexual.

      • Dave says:

        Yeah I’d be very wary of any multiplayer game with open voice or text chat. Fortunately on (PS4 at least, not sure about PC) SW Battlefront there is no text chat and the voice chat is limited to your ‘Party’ which is just the group of friends in your group

      • Matt_W says:

        My rule for my kids is absolutely no multiplayer with strangers. Not any in any game. They can get online with friends and their cousins, but I’m not having them wade into the cesspool of online gaming without some more years for armor.

      • BewareTheJabberwock says:

        My brother was adamant that my nephew (who was 7 at the time) not ever play anything that is on-line multiplayer. But (with some convincing, and, finally, his blessing) I got him Splatoon (for the WiiU) when it came out, which has no chat of any kind, but you can play matches with strangers. He still loves it, and will probably get Splatoon 2 for Xmas this year, provided they continue with the no-chat rule. Hell, that’s the only way I’d ever play anything with strangers.

        His mother, since she’s a lunatic Republican, was not happy with her son playing Spore, tho, because it implies that evolution is a thing. So sometimes you just can’t win (he is still allowed to play it at dad’s house, if he doesn’t tell mum).

  6. Premium User Badge

    Mungrul says:

    Sims 4’s rated 12. Dunno if you feel that’s appropriate or not. But I could see kids enjoying it.

  7. Dewal says:

    Remind me of the 12 y.o son of a colleague who threw himself through the window during a night terror (survived, is alright) because his parents let him play COD and, wait for it, the last Resident Evil (seriously) before going to sleep. Some people are so oblivious, it’s frightening.

    On the topic, I think that as long as you avoid gore, violence (as in “action”) isn’t especially bad. Most kids love to beat stuff, play war, crash cars. As long as it is not realistic to the point of shock (or fright) nor online, a kid would be okay.

    To me, the hardest part in chosing a game for a kid would be to pinpoint the skill required. I remember being crap at any game and not finishing them without cheating until my teen age, and finding the right spot for a 11 y.o might be complicated.
    I’m not sure he would be able to beat a Ori of the Blind Forest, for exemple, but he may be bored and find childish a game such as Grow Home.

    If he plays with his friends, maybe the best bet would be to offer him a competitive game. Car, sport or even fight (“unviolent” ones such as Naruto, Dragon Ball… & co).
    If he spend his time playing these, he won’t have time to play GTA ;)

  8. Matt_W says:

    I tend not to let my 10 and 7 year old play games where killing other human characters is required. I did let 10 y/o play Horizon Zero Dawn for awhile, through the parts that were about hunting down robot animals, but it required too much supervision to keep her away from the human-killing sections (which occur more often than I had remembered when I was playing it), so put an end to that game. They play (lots of) Minecraft, which features potential human killing, but with the rule that if I see them kill villagers, they’re done. (I also drew the line once when they spawned a vast herd of sheep and then set them all on fire.) They’ve enjoyed Rocket League, Tearaway Unfolded, Little Big Planet 3, The Witness, Burnout Paradise, ETS2, Lego Worlds, Zelda: BotW, Mario Kart 8, Monument Valley, and a host of others I can’t think of right now. I’ve never felt like they don’t have options.

    • pH101 says:

      It sounds like you are pretty responsible here which is good. A friend of friend had his <6 yr old playing COD which appalled me. But I can't help but find it slightly absurd to be policing children "killing" what are I assume NPCs and that must be very non graphic violence. These are pixels. The children by that age (in my view) can very much tell the difference between doing a thing in a game and the real world. Otherwise why do you not stop them paragliding in Zelda because it would surely be dangerous to jump off a mountain with a small paraglider or drive a car into a wall which would surely result in a fatal crash in burnout. The policing seems to imply you think that in doing so they are learning to kill real humans in real life by doing this which is, sure, a view, but personally not one I subscribe to. It's also my problem with the video games = violence argument, wherein gamers are very well aware it is not real and so ask what is the problem? The problem is doing it in reality and I don't think there is any much evidence for a link. It seems it is the would be the censors who confuse games and reality. Anyway, I don't meant to have a go, must be hard for parents in the modern world especially with mobiles everywhere and I'm glad I don't have that challenge! But this struck me as kind of strange, the children may very well be thinking – "but Dad its just a game" – and if its not graphic violence I could see there point. (side point – when you are not looking they probably slaughter said villagers in response! But then, the villagers aren't real so probably don't mind).

      • Matt_W says:

        My take is that empathy is a vital thing to develop, especially in young kids, who are developmentally not very capable of it. Controlling an avatar who kills other people in a game, even if it’s just pixels, requires some emotional distancing, which is not a skill that I want them to develop. Parenting is a judgement call.

      • Matt_W says:

        Oh, and I just wanted to say that “The policing seems to imply you think that in doing so they are learning to kill real humans in real life by doing this” is pure strawman. No, that’s not what I think, nor does any parent who polices violence in the games their kids play. The primary social value I try to teach my kids is kindness. It’s surprisingly difficult to teach this core value since what they most desire is “belonging”, and the easiest way, even for kids, to establish group identity is to exclude other kids. Letting them act out violence in pantomime while sitting on the couch at the very least isn’t helping establish the values I want them to have. And since there are plenty of other options for them, I’m not sure why that’s something I need to allow.

        • pH101 says:

          Fair enough. No I’m not trying to create a straw man. It genuinely was my assumed reason for why you would prevent them killing NPCs. So I made a wrong assumption, I did say “seems to imply”, not state as fact, but clearly I was wrong. Still I wouldn’t say “no parent ever” would think like that, maybe some do? I mean its why most won’t let them watch violent films isn’t it? I don’t know. Your reasoning about empathy and kindness seems sound. That said, and really I am just speculating here – and being devil’s advocate aka a bit of a dick – if we think we can teach kindness to humans through behaviour to NPCs, can the opposite be true? Just to reiterate, I’m not trying to criticise you, this is purely cheap conjecture. I’m sure your instincts about what to let your children play are spot on, it just made me think about our personification of NPCs is all. I mean I feel bad killing NPCs sometimes, even when they aren’t real. I’m getting off topic..

          • Matt_W says:

            No you’re right. It can (and has) become a fruitful point for discussion. (“Why do you think I don’t like you killing human characters in the game?” “How does doing that make you feel?”, etc.) But that kind of discussion requires careful supervision and interaction with them while they’re playing. I do play games with them and watch them playing, but not all of the time. The rules are guidelines for when they’re doing their own thing.

    • rabidwombat says:

      My first impression was that Horizon: Zero Dawn would be fine for a 10-yo. I remembered the robot hunting and story bits, which were great. Totally fine for a kid.

      Then I remembered all the human headshotting bits. It’s like half the game! A little sad that I’m so inured to it that it completely escaped my mind. So yeah, give it a few years.

      • Premium User Badge

        Nauallis says:

        ***HZD SPOILERS***

        Depending on the kid, Horizon’s plot would probably be lost on most of them, the sheer scale of the main plot twist (GAIA Prime ->) is likely unfathomable for most children at that age (truthfully it may be lost on many adults as well). For me, that part of the plot was the horrifying, mature shocker, but it’s not enough by itself to rate the game as “mature” or “16+”. Aside from the horror of losing a parent, which I would suggest is the most disturbing thematic motif in HZD from a child’s perspective, killing humans is about as mature as the gameplay gets.

  9. Shiloh says:

    I bought my 13 yr old daughter Horizon: Zero Dawn earlier this year. I’d never heard of it before I bought it (I’m not really up on the world of consoles), but it didn’t look like a 16 from the packaging so I thought we’d give it a supervised go.

    A-a-a-nd we both absolutely loved it. She even asked me at one point “why is this like even a 16?” to which I could only shrug.

    One thing though John – just be grateful you’ve a nephew and not a niece. Trying to find decent games for girls at that age and just above is even harder.

    • DodgyG33za says:

      So it is okay for a boy to play, say, COD, but not a girl?

      My daughter loved Oblivion when she was 14. She discovered the whole vampire sub-plot which I hadn’t come across.

      But really, boy or girl, games like Terraria, Minecraft, Hollow Knight, Subnautica, Oxygen Not Included, Astroneer and Kingoms and Castles are all suitable for young teens and most of them are on my steam favourites as well. There are so many games out there, there is plenty for all needs and ages.

      Another aspect to finding the right game for a teen is one that allows them to have fun while keeping to your pre-defined screen time (assuming you have one). Games like FTL and Dead Cells fit nicely into that category.

      • Joe The Wizard says:

        I don’t think that was his point. I read the comment to mean that it was harder to find games that younger girls are actually interested in. And THAT I totally believe.

        • DodgyG33za says:

          Fair ‘nuf. But there are still a metric shitload of games out there.

        • JKnaperek says:

          It’s straightup sexist – a problem that already exists.

          The girls are just as interested in all the same games.

          • Kitsunin says:

            I’m not sure what you’re saying? It’s sexist to think they won’t like the same games, or games are sexist so it’s hard to find ones girls will like? Depending on which you meant, the following might fit better as a response to the person above you…

            While girls and boys can get behind the same types of games, all people like to feel represented. For the same reason kids prefer to watch shows and movies about kids, girls like to play games which star women, because it’s more relatable. And, well, there aren’t that many games which do, though it’s getting better. That’s not a sexist thing to say, either. If the vast majority starred women, boys would feel the same.

          • jecomans says:

            Any given male or female may enjoy any game. But data such as this link to quanticfoundry.com suggests that there are differences in what games, genres and themes males or females enjoy on average.

          • Kitsunin says:

            That is very true, although for genre differences I have to wonder how much of that is cultural. I suspect not all of it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if girls somehow raised in a vacuum would barely end up skewed toward a genre preference. There’s also the possibility they like (or end up liking) certain genres because those genres are better at representing women rather than because of the gameplay. For instance sports are the least popular genre for women…and sports games almost universally exclude all women as characters.

          • Kitsunin says:

            And going further on that idea, Match 3 games completely lack gender, making representation a non-issue, while farming/sim games almost universally represent women equally.

            When it comes to motivations, the biggest differences in preference for men and women seem to more-or-less sum up to men preferring more challenge-centric games than women, which I would bet simply comes down to far more men being “core gamers” which I think is quite clearly more cultural than anything.

  10. Pastell says:

    THANK THE LORD! Someone finally talked about this! I’ve had this struggle for years. But for myself. I’m 13 but I’ve always been more mature and intelligent than is normal for my age, and yet when I ask, “Hey Dad, would it be okay if I played -insert any game with anything even mild that he might object to-?” Dad: “No, this doesn’t look like one we’re going to do.” He’s uber religious, and pretty strict with media. Drives me nuts. There aren’t many games for my age group. Everything that’s appropriate is boring and uninteresting, and anything interesting or of any quality is inappropriate, because my father doesn’t understand videogames, art, or my own maturity.

    • Alberto says:

      Parents live in constant paranoia of their kids becoming some kind of social monster. Or dying of a common cold.

      I’ve got this very problem now, for a 12 year girl, and I know I’m overthinking what should be a simple thing.

      • DodgyG33za says:

        Believe me, worrying about what computer games your 12 year old is the least of your worries. Be happy that she is happy being somewhere safe with a (non-facebook) screen taking her attention.

        My daughter is 20. And for the first time the other day she gave me an insight into what being a 15 year old in her school* was like. Drugs, drinking, boys and self harm are what obsesses girls of that age. And don’t underestimate the self-harm, it is very common. Quite a ride, but guess what, the vast majority will come out the other side in good shape, and stronger for it.

        * The school was an academically selective state school, so it wasn’t as if she was hanging out with dropouts.

        • Alberto says:

          Looks like a totally average high school. I recall mine (Spain in the 90’s) and it was exactly the same, if you don’t count smartphones.

          My overthinking is more about what game will she like and won’t freak out her grandma.

    • Herring says:

      We had that problem with books for my eldest daughter. She was ahead of the curve on reading level but any books that were written well-enough for her were ludicrously “mature”.

      Lining up well-written, appropriate and interesting (for a teen) is pretty difficult no matter the medium.

      • DodgyG33za says:

        I reckon if she can read a book she is probably ready for it.

        My uncle gave me the hobbit to read at 13, and followed it up with Lord of the Rings and then Dune. Once I was done with those I pretty much picked my own after that.

        There isn’t anything in them there books that isn’t easily accessible on the internet, regardless of the limits you make think you impose on them.

        • Sin Vega says:

          Agreed about them being ready if they can read it. Reginald D Hunter once quoted his dad: “If your mind can conceive of a question, you’re old enough for the answer”.

          Especially with books. It’s not quite the same as a film, if a book is really messing you up it’s actually harder to keep reading than to just put it down.

          Fortunately things are a LOT better now than they were for teens, there’s a tonne of good stuff out there for “young adults”, a broad section I generally prefer to the adult fiction as it’s often far more imaginative and daring. There is some cynical formulaic dross too, but a bit of that is harmless really, sometimes you just want a bag of chips.

          • Kitsunin says:

            I remember when I was really into Xanth books. Looking back on them…fucking yikes. But still, I think it was very healthy to have childrens books which approached sexuality. Even if it probably triggered a fetish or two later in life.

            So, when I was 12, my parents suggested Piers Anthony’s first novel, Chthon, at a library, clearly without knowing anything about it. I started to read it, and even then, knowing exactly what it all meant, I knew that was way too mature. And I refused to keep reading it after the first chapter. Most of my classmates wouldn’t have been capable of reading the thing.

            So yes, at least when it comes to reading, I think kids are almost always going to either be mature enough to read something, or if they learned to read fast, that means they’re probably smart enough to know when they shouldn’t read something.

      • Sin Vega says:

        I see this at work (library) a lot, where there’s a blanket, automated ban on anything from the adult (not as in “porn”, but as in “literally all non-junior books”) section for anyone under 16. It’s really quite ridiculous. We can override it at our discretion (typically for non-fiction like “how to look at a dog for dummies” or, absurdly, Shakespeare, which is fine because it’s ‘educational’ despite being more violent and rapey than 95% of the crime section), but you often have to say that kids can’t take out a book they’re obviously interested in unless their parents come in. Which isn’t an option for some and is a waste of time for others.

        I mean, back when all this was angelfire, there basically was nothing in between RL Stine and George Orwell, so you just read whatever, and at worst there’d be a bewildering, crap sex scene or swear words far milder than what you heard at school anyway, or you’d just find it impenetrably dull. It all seems very silly and ultimately another stupid consequence of the way tort law works now.

      • DeadlyAccurate says:

        I started with Dean Koontz when I was 12. My mom was the one who gave it to me. (My parents weren’t the kind to let me see R-rated movies, and games weren’t an issue back then). Except for the explicit romances, I was free to read pretty much anything. I tore through Harlequin’s entire Intrigue line (the sex scenes were mostly “fade to black”).

        My brother and sister-in-law let their boys play any games. When I asked my youngest nephew at his 8th b’day party what games he’s been playing, he named off Call of Duty and Just Cause. It seems weird, but they seem to be doing fine. Definitely makes it easier for me to buy games, since I’ve played most of what they like.

    • PiiSmith says:

      I am the father of an 13 year old boy. I play pretty much everything, he is OK with, with him. This started with Minecraft. Now I have tuned out for this game, as he is playing it mostly with his peers.
      Then we both played Overwatch. Though it has those light, funny looking characters, it has a good amount of hatred in it’s voice chat. A lot of sore loosers in competitive.
      Lately it is a lot of Battlefield 1. We fly together and though the game has more graphical violence, the gamers seem a bit more relaxed than in Overwatch.
      There are games I know he is not ready for. He does not want to touch anything with a horror theme. I would like to play Left4Dead with him, as I think it is a great game, but he will not play it.

  11. lglethal says:

    I just looked through my steam libraray and realised that wow I really dont have many games that I would consider suitable for when my child starts reaching around that age. Civilization, a couple of the lego games and the harry potter games and I’m done. Wow. I really didnt think it would be that bad…

  12. Antongranis says:

    Personally, i watched saving private ryan at a young age. It is very violent, but i did not take any “damage” from it. It did inspire me to play a bunch of ww2 games on the ps2 though, notably the medal of honor series.

    • Dewal says:

      Quoth the article :
      “I’m sure many will read that and say, “Oh PSHAH, Walker! I played [insert gruesome 90s game] when I was 11 and it didn’t do me any harm!” Me too! But when it’s your sister’s kid, it all feels a lot more fraught. Not least when there’s the 9 year old niece thrown in.”

      Moreover, you have no way of knowing if it caused damage to you. I saw Private Ryan at eleven, too. I feel fine, but if I still remember the gory part of the D-Day now, it may have had a stronger impact on me then than I know now.

      • Antongranis says:

        I suppose. However, i am very glad i saw it. I still maintain an interest with ww2 today.

    • Saarlaender39 says:

      I recently read a book (FUBAR: A Collection of War Stories), in which the author (an ex-military) wrote this:

      “It used to be, for the most part, that you had to be in a particular line of work to earn this world view. For one to get PTSD you had to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s not necessarily the case anymore. The internet has democratized PTSD opportunities, allowing viewers to watch beheadings, terrorists burning victims alive, people being shot, run over, and falling to their deaths. The very act of witnessing these things puts a person in that space that Myke Cole (another author) describes when one realizes that “life is fungible”. Some are able to take it better than others. Because I’ve seen enough death in my own life, I don’t watch these. I’ve never watched a beheading and I never will.

      But many people do.
      Can you imagine what it does to them?
      Have YOU watched these videos?
      How did it make you feel?
      Has it changed you?

      Would you even know, if it did?”
      ———-
      Very interesting question, that last one, don’t you think?

      • Antongranis says:

        Well, i know everything in a movie is faked for sure. An ISIS execution video would indeed be very disturbing, since it actually happened. I think thier is a vital diffrence there.

        • Saarlaender39 says:

          And yet – for a young child, it may be impossible, to know the difference between fiction and reality, and whether what it is watching, is makeup and special-FXs, or real.
          And as stated by the author – YOU are in no position to judge, whether watching “Saving Private Ryan” had any influence on you, or not.

          Food for thought: were there ever (violent) incidents, where you reacted different than most people around you?

          You know, any incidents where you said:

          “No reason to get so upset” (about something, less desensitized people than you, definitely should get emotional about).

          “I’ve seen worse” (when something really bad happened, that until then, not EVERYONE has seen before).

          “Why should I mourn about anyone unknown to me” (can be very often read after someone (more or less) famous died, or some ordinary people died under cruel / horrible circumstances, and people express their condolences publicly…often in unison with something like: “When my mother died last year, the media and the public didn’t make such a fuss about her – was she worth less than …?”, or something similar)

          Or maybe you laughed at something you saw, where others were shocked?

          And did those people also watch “Saving Private Ryan” (and/or played violent games), or not?

          And have you ever considered, that maybe your different reaction to said incidents was due to you being exposed to the on-screen violence of “Saving Private Ryan” (and most probably other violent movies and games, that followed it later)?

          Sigh.
          We could lead this discussion to hell and back, only – I know it would be meaningless, because you are 100% certain, that you are unaffected from the violence in your media.

          As are the ones, bragging online about their first porn (“watched it, when I was 10 – didn’t affect my respect for the bitches at all!!!!11!!”)

          Or the ones bragging about playing violent games (“Ah, DOOM,…I remember it like yesterday – it was on my 5th birthday…”)

          People tend to trivialize such things.

          Heck, I played “Commando Lybia” on the C64.

          Only – I was ‘already’ 14 when it got released, instead of 8, 9 or 10, and the graphics back then were nothing compared to today’s graphics.

          And yes – graphics is important – at least when it comes to the depiction of violence.

          And yet – I am able to admit to myself, that all the violence that I took up (in movies, games and lyrics), has affected me.

          To what extent?
          I really don’t know.

          I only know that I never lost my capability to empathy with others (despite all the sneers and snickers, I produced in my teens and early twenties), and for this I’m very thankful.
          Especially in regard of the obviously more and more growing lack of empathy in my (mostly younger) fellow humans.

          One has to wonder, where that growing lack stems from, huh?
          Could it be from the influence by forms of media, that weren’t around, when I was a kid/teenager?

          Maybe the ever getting better graphics are responsible?
          Not much left to the imagination, these days.

          I wish you a nice day.

  13. Alberto says:

    Stardew Valley, maybe?

  14. Hunchback says:

    I’ve been having a lot of troubles picking games for my 9 year old girl.

    The biggest problem, as someone else said earlier, is the skill requirement – she isn’t very skilled yet, having trouble with a KBD+M controls and she gets frustrated…

    However, the brand new Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles has been quite a success – it seems to have no violence or gore whatsoever and it can be played with a gamepad which seems easier for kids (i can’t for the life of me play with a pad anymore, but whatever). It’s also similar to Animal Crossing, which she got last month for her b-day together with the New Nintendo 2DS XL (which in itself is really awesome, no 3d bullshit and the battery lasts forever!).

    I’ve got Slime Rancher loaded up as well, but she hasn’t got to it yet. Think it’ll be a nice game to learn KBD+M controls with, since it’s kind of simple and i believe there’s no that many “mistakes” you can do and die or whatever.

    Other than that, Sims are an obvious choice for a girl, and some buys might enjoy it too (i know i did).

    Botanicula and a few other simple point-and-click adventures can be nice, but they seem a bit too hard for a 9yo to figure out so yeah, depends on age.

    I am planning to introduce her to all those building, management and strategy games later on, when she learns a bit more math, reading etc. I am thinking Cities Skylines, Anno, Civilisation, etc. And she could maybe even join me and the wife on GW2, which is amazingly friendly and clean for an “MMO”.

    I do believe Diablo/PoE are acceptable for young teens, even if it’s “violent” it’s really not detailed or anything and hell, after ~14-15 years you should be able to play anything anyway, right? I know i did… :D

    • Premium User Badge

      Qazinsky says:

      Hmm, if I were to teach a kid to use Keyboard and mouse, I’d probably play Minecraft on a LAN server in peaceful mode. I assume there’s no monsters in Peaceful, I’ve not really tried it. That way she can train the controls at her own pace while doing fun, creative stuff and you can be in the game and help out.

      • Premium User Badge

        Nauallis says:

        You are correct. On peaceful, monsters do not spawn at night, health regenerates, hunger regenerates. I do not remember if creepers spawn at all.

    • SuddenSight says:

      I never really had a console (besides a gameboy, which was mostly used for pokemon). So I grew up a PC gamer. And my mother didn’t approve of games with shooting, so that left driving sims (Midtown Madness) and strategy games (Lords of Magic, Civ III, Sim City, Pharaoh, and later on Age of Mythology).

      I first played Lords of Magic and Sim City when I was quite young (definitely less than 8). Pharaoh came a bit later on. I understood enough to click the buttons and make things happen, but I definitely did not understanding of the strategy to those games. I mostly played around with cheats in those games. Going back to them when I was in my later teens was an interesting experience because I realized how much strategic decision making had flown right over my head as a child.

      I think children can enjoy strategic games and they might learn a little from them. Civ III taught me how to calculate odds at a fairly young age, for example. And Age of Mythology taught me about the difference between additive and multiplicative effects. But I wouldn’t expect children to understand all the strategy in strategy games until their early teens at least.

      • April March says:

        Ah, that is how I played Sim City as well. Build build build. Run out of money. Cheat for more money. I couldn’t even understand how to make more money (while closing the yearly Budget window as soon as it opened).

        I think one of the things that made The Sims so succesful is the immediate feedback between working and get paid. If you had to wait, say, an in-game week before getting paid I wouldn’t have realized what was the usefulness of working and my sims would’ve been loafers for ever.

    • Matt_W says:

      In the same vein as Yonder, my 10 y/o daughter has spent many 10’s of hours with Stardew Valley.

  15. Premium User Badge

    Qazinsky says:

    You say that you’ve gone back and forth on Horizon which gives me the impression you haven’t talked with his mother about it, how about you tell her your thoughts on why you consider the game and what parts make you hesitate and let her decide if it’s a fitting game for the nephew?

  16. lagiacrux says:

    why not pokemon? there is some cartoony violence implied but never shown, and its arguably one of the greats in the rpg genre. could also be a problem of platform availability. not everyone has a 3ds.

    i lent my sister and her 4 & 6 year olds my unused wii, and they LOVE it. mostly just wii-sports but im slowly showing them other stuff as well. also there are a ton of kids themed games for the wii so from time to time i pick them out another game.

  17. Premium User Badge

    Qazinsky says:

    Hmm, seeing all these people without Supporter tags in the comments makes me think he wont need a subscription to read this.

    • KDR_11k says:

      Non-subscribers get the articles a month later and I assume his birthday is now past.

      But then again you probably would’ve seen it last month if this was just a re-post so maybe he forgot the flag…

      • Premium User Badge

        Qazinsky says:

        Usually, the reposts have all the original comments though, the first comment here has todays date.

        Edit: I mean, I guess it’s possible that noone posted a comment if it ran earlier.

        • Premium User Badge

          Nauallis says:

          Nah, it wasn’t posted earlier, this post surprised me as well.

  18. Vegas says:

    Aw man you gotta let him play Horizon. It’s new, it’s badass, and it’ll give him cache on the playground. Back in 6th grade I wanted so desperately to have an Xbox and play Halo but could only do so on my friends’ machines because my parents were so strict. They thought if I didn’t have games I’d go outside more, but I just became a kid who always wanted to play Halo when he went to his friends’ house. If they didn’t make it such a thing by restricting it I would have gotten over it quicker and would have probably moved on to something my friend group hadn’t tired of sooner.

    I’m just saying that the teen years are often defined by who can get access to what adult stuff, and those with restricting parents are often left behind. You have the opportunity to be the cool uncle here and give him just a slight edge of cultural capital.

  19. Minglefingler says:

    My daughter is four so she only really plays Mario Kart which she can’t control yet but has fun with, I’m planning on introducing her to 2d platformers when she gets a bit older along with stuff like Ratchet and Clank. My nephew however is eleven and is allowed to play GTA and COD by his parents, has been allowed to play COD since he was six or seven if I recollect rightly and it is the game he plays most often. My concern about this isn’t just regarding the violence but how it’s presented and the gung ho, hoo-ah military fetishisation of the COD games. His dad has an xbox one, although aside from one or two brief dalliances with a different game he has played nothing but COD since Modern Warfare first came out and has no interest in encouraging his son to try anything else. It makes me sad that my nephew is missing out on so much of the wonder and imagination that videogames are capable in favour of the rat-a -tat of scripted campaigns and daily team deathmatchs.

  20. Babymech says:

    Oh PSHAH, Walker! I played Jurassic Park Trespasser when I was 11 and it took me three months to relearn how to up basic objects off a table.

  21. Hunchback says:

    I wish they’d make a an actually good Heroes of Might and Magic game again. I’ve played HOMM2 since i was like 12 and then kept on playing HOMM3 for AGES with my friends on hot-seat up to our late teen years. This is some epic fun and somehow never got old.

  22. Premium User Badge

    teije says:

    Trying to remember what my son played and enjoyed at 11. Let’s see – Minecraft, Lego games, old GOG RTS and strategy games – like Age of Empires, HOMM series, Star Wars Battlefront, Battle for Wesnoth, old RPGs – Might and Magic (Baldurs Gate was too hard), RollerCoaster Tycoon (old), Transport Tycoon Deluxe. That’s just off the top of my head. So there’s a lot of great stuff out there, especially if you look at past games.

    He didn’t have his own Steam account, but I let him borrow mine and that worked out pretty well. But GOG was a better source really at that age.

    Biggest hits with him at that age – HOMM 3 and 4 and Minecraft. He reads RPS – he’ll correct me if I remember wrong :)

  23. ColonelFailure says:

    Roblox is your answer.

    Gift the young man £20 in Roblox vouchers and he’ll be the happiest young man alive. He can get his fill of GTA and CS clones without the realistic violence while wearing a sodding great crown and carrying a flying broomstick.

    Convert the young man to the YT channel “Popular MMOs” and he’ll rediscover the delights of modded Minecraft in a hurry.

    • Scurra says:

      I second the Roblox option. My nephew is 8 and he seems to be getting on just fine in there (meanwhile, my laptop seems to hate it and shuts down in a hurry whenever I try to connect; maybe the game has a magic age-filter or something…)
      The fact that they are going to be destroyed by the inevitability of a major IP lawsuit at some point is the only fly in that particular ointment. (I don’t think that “we’re only the platform” is going to be a sufficient defence for them.)

  24. Premium User Badge

    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    My nephew’s are pretty obsessed with Dungeon Quest Builders for the PS4. It’s basically like Minecraft meets Zelda.

    Trine is another pretty good one if you’re looking to appear smart.

  25. SadOldGuy says:

    Good lord do I struggle with this myself. My much younger brother’s sons are 3, 5, and 7 and so he asked me for advice. No bad language, no witchcraft, nothing that contradicts their very conservative church. But it needs multiplayer because once one plays then everyone plays. So Mario Kart and ?

    • Matt_W says:

      Rocket League? (though there are rainbows in that game, which might be subtle gay propaganda.) Minecraft has skeletons and zombies and literal witches, so that’s right out. Hmmm. The Witness contains lengthy video diatribes by Richard Feynman, who was an atheist, so that’s probably not going to work. In No Man’s Sky, the universe was created by an algorithm, so no. Hexcells? Well.. actually the repeated 6 sided figures hint at the number of the beast. Yeah, not many options.

      • SadOldGuy says:

        Thank you for the sympathy. I did consider Pokemon but that means that I have to buy three 3DS systems and I am on disability. My brother loves Madden but his kids are too young to find it very fun.

        • jecomans says:

          You mention Mario Kart, so is a Wii U what they have access to? Super Mario 3D World has four player co-op. That’s a go-to for me when I’m looking after my 6yo nephew. Wii Sports Club might work for them, as well?

      • PiiSmith says:

        I understand, that you want to protect your children from harm. This could be the depiction of violence and someone yelling at them over a voice chat. This also could be some imagery or anything, that might disturb them.
        But games that depict witchcraft? I mean there are witches in kid’s cartoons. This ridiculous.

    • April March says:

      Sonic’s All Star Racing Evolved comes to mind. Drop-in gameplay, no violence, nothing bad happens if you lose so a 3-year-old can play. It’s in a lot of consoles, as well. There’s also the far simpler Little Racers: STREET, but as I recall it doesn’t have split-screen. I can’t even recall if it has multiplayer at all.

      There might be a LEGO game that’ll be vetted. They exist about a million billion IPs.

      Have you taken a look at Sportsfriends? B.U.T.T.O.N. is also kind of cute.

      I love BANG BANG BANG, but it might not work for you. It’s about shooting, even if it’s quite abstract, and I doubt a 3-year-old could play it well. Still, I’m leaving this suggestion here. A similar game is Rumble, about cavepeople throwing spears at each other.

      • SadOldGuy says:

        Thank you for the advice. They are not the type to purchase a gaming computer so I guess I need to help them choose a gaming console as well.

  26. Herring says:

    An additional problem for buying games for relatives / friends kids is that if their family doesn’t have a gamer (likely) then their PC is likely to be hamster-driven.

    So it becomes finding a combination of interesting + appropriate + suitably challenging + non-demanding on hardware.

    For me, successes have been; Stardew Valley and Spore, especially the former.

  27. Burius1981 says:

    I had to add, my 3 year old is always making me play Trials Fusion as well. I don’t even have the full game just the demo, so I have played the same six trial(heh) levels over a hundred times at this point.

  28. Premium User Badge

    Fallingbadgers says:

    Yonder, a great Zelda like game with no combat and lots of exploring and Animal Crossing style activities. And very zen for adults too!

  29. Premium User Badge

    Nauallis says:

    The things that will disturb children may surprise you. I grew up with Macs at home, no windows PC at all, so I was pretty limited in what I could play, but I was lucky enough to play Marathon when it came out when I was 8, and its sequels as soon as my brother and I knew about them and could convince our father to let us install the games on his computer.

    Marathon 2 features a level where you must flood the lower portions of the map with lava. To do that, you have to break circuits at three locations, at which point the map immediately begins to flood with lava and you have to run through part of the level that you’ve already cleared to reach a winding staircase that allows you to escape, through a door which only lowers once you break the last circuit. Upon breaking the first circuit, an alarm/klaxon begins to wail, and the lava starts to visibly rise. That alarm noise gave me nightmares.

    It wasn’t the intensity of Marathon 2’s combat, it wasn’t the jump-scares of enemies in the dark around corners, it wasn’t the plot that dealt with exploring the ruins of an advanced intelligent pacifist civilization that had to relearn war whilst it was being exterminated and enslaved by a genocidal conquerer. No. It was the wailing sound of an alarm klaxon combined with the fear that I (as the player) was going to drown/be burnt to death in slowly rising lava while trapped underground. We got stuck on that level for a solid month before my brother figured out that the door opened after the last circuit was destroyed, and we were able to continue the game.

  30. RichUncleSkeleton says:

    There’s a dearth of good kid-friendly games these days and it’s legitimately sad to me. That sure wasn’t the case when I was growing up. The games that excited kids were the same games that excited adults and nobody batted an eye about objectionable content because, with few high-profile exceptions (MK, Doom, later RE) there really wasn’t any. I remember what a novelty it was to finally see mild swearing in FF7. Now? Could you even get anyone under the age of 15 to care about Mario or Zelda? I don’t have any young gamers in my life but if I did I’d just give in and let them have their GTA’s and CoD’s and whatever else. One of the little anxieties I have about the possibility of having my own kids eventually is that when they’re old enough to play, I’ll show them Mario 3 and they’ll look at it the same way I looked at my dad’s old music and comic books: with a bemused disinterest.

  31. Yglorba says:

    Minecraft is never a bad choice.

    My nieces really love Mini Metro, too. And Crayon Physics.

  32. johnbeeler says:

    I have three daughters aged 11, 9, and 7. We all love playing video games. Here’s our list.

    Zelda games are always the best. We finished Breath of the Wild a few months ago and we’d take turns playing. I’d do combat, my 7 year old would do trading, my 9 year old would…randomly climb mountains, and my 11 year old would do adventuring. I can’t think of a better game than BOTW.

    But the other Zelda games are great, but because they’re so similar I usually tackle them one every several months. Skyward Sword was fun, and we’re about to take on Majora’s Mask. They loved Wind Waker of course.

    We all loved The Witness. After a year and a half we finally “finished it” just a few weeks ago. Wow did we ever plug away at that one. It was another game where we’d all sit around playing. “No, do this” “No do that!” “Try this!” and we’d get frustrated, give up for a few weeks, try again, and someone would immediately suggest something new. Besides Breath of the Wild I can’t think of a better game for families than The Witness.

    In that puzzle genre we’ve been playing the heck out of Hidden Folks.

    Maybe Minecraft?

    I’ve been playing Minecraft with my kids since my 11 year old was 3 or 4. They play it mostly on Xbox One now, but also on mobile. We’re anxiously awaiting the Play Together (or whatever) version. But yeah they play the hell out of Minecraft, until someone changes someone else’s house and then they’re throwing controllers at each other.

    Someone mentioned Viva Pinata and my 7 year old loves that game. She also loves Stardew Valley.

    My 11 year old loves The Sims. She spends most of her allowance on the addons (thanks, EA).

    My 11 year old has also really gotten into “walking simulator” games. We took a couple of nights to finish Tacoma. We all loved What Remains of Edith Finch, a game very much about family.

    I figure I’ll let my 11 year old tackle Gone Home next.

    My 11 year old also loved Sexy Brutale. She liked the time puzzle aspect, so we’re tackling Colonel’s Bequest and Last Express next. Though, I’ve noticed that for most older games my kids aren’t particularly interested.

    My 11 year old loved Splatoon. When she’s not saving up for Sims add-ons, she’s saving up for a Switch and Splatoon 2.

    They love the revived Kings Quest on Xbox. And we’ve been playing through the Monkey Islands here and there.

    We liked playing the first Costume Quest, but the second one got boring.

    We’ve tinkered with the LEGO games but I personally don’t see the allure. Sometimes it feels like the levels are just explosions and noise with no real thought to design. But the kids play them from time to time.

    They also love watching me play games, which is a win-win-win. I get to play, they enjoy watching, we spend some quality time together, and my wife gets some quiet moments to read to herself.

    FTL is actually fairly popular to watch. They’ll ask for it specifically, though I can’t figure out what it is about FTL that they love. I think they like the pause-ability of the game. FTL creates tension, but at any point we can pause, and they can make suggestions and I often act on those suggestions. In fact, having three extra sets of eyes on FTL is a real help.

    They also like to watch Don’t Starve. Another game that’s great to have them along for watching are the Forza Horizon games. Long Dark is another watcher for them.

    Edit: Mario Kart of course!

    • Snids says:

      You seem like a great dad! They’re going to remember these times with you.

      I’ve got two boys. 8 and 6. My 8 year old seems more sensitive to “peril” he tenses up and has had nightmares about some of the encounters in Wind Waker. He seems OK with it though overall. Problem is, we’ve got to the tedious “find 119 map pieces” section and they’ve lost interest.

      We’ve been playing Lego City Undercover and Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime. LIADST is FANTASTIC. All four of you could play at once.

      Other than that, my eldest loves the Pokemon games (though he gets stressed out by them) and my youngest loves all the Kirby games. We all love Animal Crossing and my eldest wrote a report on the game for school and it was the cutest thing I’ve ever read in my life.

  33. left1000 says:

    I found a typo in the opening blurb.


    Sure, in the early ’90s you could forgive a confused aunt for not realising that cartoony console games like Mario and Sonic had broad appeal, and we’re the totality of the medium.

    The we’re should be a were. So the sentence should read:

    Sure, in the early ’90s you could forgive a confused aunt for not realising that cartoony console games like Mario and Sonic had broad appeal, and were the totality of the medium.

    Basically just remove one apostrophe.

    • poliovaccine says:

      I didn’t take that as a typo, actually. I took that as referring to ourselves, “we,” as in “we kids at the time,” as being the bulk of the medium they are talking about. Given that it’s a little awkward that way, you’re likely right about it being a typo, though the devil’s advocate in me can never let this stuff go unsaid..!

  34. Premium User Badge

    Gassalasca says:

    Re: violence — when I was 11 I outgrew Mortal Kombat 3 (a game clearly aimed at 9 and 10-year-olds), and fell in love with Warcraft 2.

    Also, what do you think about the first Monkey Island?

  35. Sin Vega says:

    I played allsorts as a kid, but I was, and this is a mere observation not any sort of boast, not all that affected by most ‘action film’ sort of violence (ie: slightly cartoony). But some kids were and are, and you never know what’ll hit a nerve(my go-to example: my sister and I watched Predator and Gremlins on the same day, at a young age. We thought Predator was great; Gremlins gave my older sister nightmares).

    That, and the slightly cliché sounding “but games are more realistic now” are important points I think, because they really are. And not just more realistic but often much more gung-ho and grubby and, if not ‘realistic’, at least more grounded and closer to home than your average 90s splatterhouse was. And that’s before you get into the ‘culture’ of it all, which, well. Good luck.

  36. poliovaccine says:

    I am (*very* deliberately) not a parent or any other kind of runtminder, so I cant quite commiserate here, but I can sure say I fell in love with gaming almost entirely without violence… sure I played Half Life when it was new, but my favorites as a kid were The Sims, SimCities 2000 and 3000, and Age of Empires II. I think my first “violent” game was Thief, which still made me feel like I was doing it wrong/messing up by committing violence.

    I think, though, that the bigger myth, moreso than “videogames are for children,” is the one which says “people emulate videogames.” I realize to some extent we are absolutely composed of the things we feed our heads each day, but on another level, those ratings on Horizom Zero Dawn could just as easily be applied to Bugs Bunny.

    Still, I get it that it’s someone else’s kid, and you gotta respect those boundaries (within reason… if this were about yr sister withholding her tykes from vaccination it’d be quite a different thing haha, but in this case, yeah, you gotta respect that).

  37. VeNT666 says:

    I had exactly this setup with my brother and his sons.
    Right up till they hit 12 and slammed into the “well all his mates have gone from minecraft to titanfall 2 and he’s playing it at their house and if you can’t beat them IRL then you may as well shoot them in the head online” wall.
    once you’ve stepped over that magical “nothing 16+” etc line there’s no going back.

  38. Hoot says:

    I have a 4 year old niece who walked in one day while I was playing DOOM and to my surprise she wasn’t scared by it at all, she thought it was kinda funny.

    Maybe because the family at large has always impressed upon our youth that make-believe is just that, it’s just daft nonsense. A clear separation exists between the real world, where right and wrong are solid concepts and the world of make believe.

  39. ZippyLemon says:

    Pshaw, John, ZippyLemon smash first skull after five and three springtimes. Skull smash do ZippyLemon good. ZippyLemon now well adjusted, functioning member of tribe with four wives, many children, and get regular exercise when rape, pillage, and skull smash. ZippyLemon let children smash skull when want. ZippyLemon not cognizant of complex interrelationship between culture, society, and the individual.

  40. Phil Culliton says:

    If he has access to a Playstation or a DS, and the attention span for an RPG, Ni No Kuni is a HUUUUGE hit with my 10- and 6-year-olds. Astounding anime cutscenes / art and voice work, some deep story and gameplay. There is (extremely) mild fantasy violence. My kids are playing through it again for the third time. I’m honestly enchanted when I watch – great game.

    On PC – we’ve had some luck with the various Costume Quests and Double Fine / Lucasarts games.

    You could always try Mount and Blade with a historical mod and claim it’s educational.

  41. TΛPETRVE says:

    Games and pop culture as a whole have changed quite drastically, that’s just how it is. Yeah, of course quite a few of us have grown up playing DOOM as eight-year-old brats – but then, DOOM was also downright understated compared to today’s standard of M-rated games. Even last year’s reboot is probably the most “family-friendly” adult game in recent memory. Gory for sure, but the violence is also quick and (mostly) painless. None of the sadistic shenanigans of a God of War. More importantly, with the threadbare plot and silent protagonist, there’s no questionable writing getting in the way. No racist/sexist/whatever stereotypes and/or jokes, no political propaganda, no verbal glorification of the on-screen violence, generally no message whatsoever other than “Kill demons and be fucking righteous”. That still doesn’t make it a glowing endorsement to give it to your kids to play, but it certainly makes a massive difference e.g. to GTA which is mired in layers of real-world lifestyle, or Call of Doodah‘s jingoism.

  42. Viral Frog says:

    I’d say that, as far as gaming and kids goes, Nintendo is the way to go. There are a ton of great titles for the Wii and WiiU (idk about the switch), which are incredibly kid friendly. And, as an added bonus, the games are still (for the most part), fun as hell as an adult.

  43. AmazingPotato says:

    I used to teach in the UK (now teach in Colombia) and whenever people raise the question of videogames/age range, I always remember a ten year old pupil who was allowed to play COD. The kid was OBSESSED – everything that came out of his mouth was about guns or violence, and it was horrendous. Whereas kids here, perhaps by virtue of this country’s recent violent history, are far more desensitized to violence.

    I don’t think there’s any harm in letting kids play ‘older’ games if a) they’re supervised and/or b) their time is strictly controlled (and obviously, if the content isn’t wildly unsuitable – I wouldn’t let a child watch/play Resident Evil 7, for instance). I used to let my 5 year old nephew play DON’T STARVE, but only after setting up a game without the grisly monster stuff (and I would watch/help him). I liked the option to ‘neuter’ the game in this way, and wonder how viable it’d be for other games to offer the option to remove/hide the more gruesome/violent aspects…?

    • Darloth says:

      It used to be quite common (or so says my personal recollection, biased as it is) but nowadays seems to be becoming rarer.

      There was an era when “blood” was a typical toggle option in the options menu, but sadly you often can’t turn it down or off nowadays.